Monday, November 9, 2009

Things not to do when submitting a manuscript (or proposal) to an editor

**Repost: Originally from
But still authored by me. For whatever that's worth.**
1) Do not misspell the publishing house’s name. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised.
2) Do not misspell the editor’s name. (See above). And to take this a step further, make sure that you get the person’s title correct. Do not assume that the person is merely an “editor” when they are the “publisher.” This may result in perpetual silence from the company. Not that I have ever done this, or experienced said silence, of course.
3) Do not forget to actually attach the attachments if sending an email submission. Having to send a follow up email apologizing for your stupidity makes you look, well, stupid. Once again, not that I know this from experience.
4) Do not hesitate to remind the person of your association. If you met at a conference and the editor requested to see your work, be sure to remind him of that in the email. Editors and agents see so many aspiring writers that it’s foolish to believe they will remember you specifically.
5)Do not send in your only copy. In today’s computer-centered society, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone would only have one copy of a manuscript, but what I mean is your only hard copy. Zip your manuscript through a Xerox machine before you mail it. If I had a dime for every flash drive that self-destructed and erased my work because it could no longer stand the honor of housing my brilliance, I’d have about $.75 (I’ve never been good at math). But you get the point. Sometimes I had hard copies to save me . . . and the other times, well, we don’t talk about those.
6) Do not include ringing endorsements in your cover/query letter unless they really matter (For example . . . "Queen Elizabeth II read my story, and she REALLY liked it). If it's not that special, leave it out. While your mother may have called your novel the “next DaVinci Code,” the sad truth is that mothers have to say that kind of stuff…even when it’s untrue. And usually, it is.
7)Do not tell the editor/agent/publisher how much he/she will love your work. For obvious reasons, presumption and arrogance is off-putting to some. Hard to fathom, I know.
8) Do not stalk the editor. Once the submission has been sent, sit back and relax (easy enough to say, I know). Understand that publishing professionals are inundated daily with stuff, and it may take them some time to get to your manuscript. Sending emails every hour on the hour, or calling the office incessantly will probably only get you a restraining order in the mail, not an acceptance letter.

No comments: